Thailand’s Social Crisis : Pivoting From Fanaticism & Obsession To Empathy

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Thailand’s Social Crisis : Pivoting From Fanaticism & Obsession To Empathy
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Thailand’s Social Crisis : Pivoting From Fanaticism & Obsession To Empathy

Written By - Patra Manas. 10-11-2020.

We have become a country of fanatics.

A fanatic is a person exhibiting excessive obsession and intense uncritical devotion toward some controversial matter(as in religion or politics).

All we want to do is voice our opinion, show how intelligent we are and bend everybody to accept our way.

Nobody listens to each other anymore. It’s our way or the highway.

In all of this, whether the cause is right or wrong for the country is irrelevant, it is how far can we push our ideology to as many people as we can.

On the surface, for one not well-versed with Thai politics, it would look like the country is simply divided into pro-democracy and pro-government camps.

However, it is probably more accurate to say that the country is fragmented and not divided into two homogenous halves.

Here is a snapshot of some of the political inclinations:

Pro-Monarchy, Pro-Military, Pro-Democracy, and then there are the shades, Pro-Monarchy and Pro-Military, Pro-Monarchy and Pro-Democracy, Pro-PM Prayuth but not Pro-Military, Pro-Military but not Pro-PMPrayuth, Pro-Democracy but not Pro-Thaksin, Pro-Democracy but not Pro-Thanathorn and so on.

We need an algorithm to work out all these shades.

All of us think we know what is good for the country and try to cram it down anybody’s throat that would listen.

In all of this, there is one group that is bearing the brunt of the country’s political fragmentations and fanaticism.

They are known as the “silent and suffering majority”.

Here’s the story of someone who is trying to make a difference using empathy to connect to people and not politics.

The story of Khun Prom, real informal Thai name, formal one withheld at her request.

By birth, her peers and her present day affluence would put her in the class of the elite.

Khun Prom is retired but well off and she could easily, like her peers, spend her retirement doing what her peers do, live a life of carefreeness, brand shopping and cosmetic surgery.

When the political crises reached a peak, she was one with her family and friends,debating the political situation fanatically, even though none of this mattered to her class as they had accumulated enough wealth not to be effected by anything that happens politically.

At ground zero, the elite class is fragmented too, not all believe in the same political ideology.

During one of these debates at a gathering, Khun Prom had a realisation.

She realized that here they were surrounded by the best food money can buy, living a life of semi luxury without a care, debating vigorously about politics only to show their own intelligence, secure in the knowledge that whatever the political scenario, it wouldn’t remove one brand from their collection.

Then she started thinking about people out there who the pandemic had brought about untold suffering, real people with real problems, who have no political inclination because they couldn’t afford to. People who just want everything to stop so they can make money in their business or find/keep a job to earn a livelihood to support their loved ones in the most basic of ways; food, shelter and education.

She spent the rest of the meet up in silence.

What she did next is a renunciation of that life of endless political debates and reached out to some of the ‘silent and suffering majority’ within her close vicinity.

She started mingling with people who were much inferior to her in terms of wealth and status and extended a hand. Money that was needed to put food on the table was given, her professional expertise was used to coach people to find jobs, children whose family couldn’t afford schooling were supported and in general, talking to anybody that needed help.

This has become her work, everyday. Helping people as much and as many as she can through these tiring times.

When asked what she would do if her money runs out she said pragmatically “I would go out and find a job, I would get paid much less because of my age , but I will live frugally and manage. How long have we got to live in this life anyway?”

In these troubling times, if we can all take a step back from our fanaticism and our obsessions once in awhile and extend a hand to someone, even if it’s one person a day, a week, we may lose the political debate but our spirit of humanity would have won.